Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties Participated in Little Black Dress Initiative

The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties, Inc. (JLGNF) participated in the Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) from February 20-24. This was the second year the league participated in the initiative. League members wore one black dress or ensemble for five consecutive days to raise awareness about the issue of poverty in Georgia.

Originated by the Junior League of London, the LBDI seeks to make “poverty unfashionable” by illustrating the effects of severe financial hardship, low self-esteem and limited access to resources and opportunities for women and children. Advocates also wore a pin that says, “Ask Me About My Dress,” to generate discussion about the initiative and its objectives. Other organizations that joined the crusade included the Junior Leagues of Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Cobb-Marietta, Columbus, DeKalb County, Douglas County, Gainesville-Hall County, Macon and Savannah.

This year, the Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton Counties had over 40 members participate in the program, and each shared a picture of themselves with their little black dress on social media. Each member used the hashtags “JLGNFdoesLBDI” and “TheLBDI,” and by the end of the campaign, we had over 135 social media posts shared to help generate awareness of poverty issues in Georgia.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, Georgia has one of the highest poverty rates of children in the United States at 24.7 percent. The following statistics typify the severity of this problem in the areas surrounding JLGNF:

-         More than 1.7 million Georgians are impoverished.
-         6.5 percent of Forsyth County’s overall population and six percent of its children are living in poverty.
-         17.6 percent of Fulton County’s overall population and 23.8 percent of its children are living in poverty.
-         12.6 percent of Gwinnett County’s overall population and 17.9 percent of its children are living in poverty.

To exemplify their support for LBDI, JLGNF continued its partnership with Sweet Repeat Dresses to collect new and gently used prom dresses. Local teens in need can shop for a dress of their choosing during Sweet Repeat Dresses’ semi-annual free dress event. This year, JLGNF donated more than 75 dresses throughout the campaign that were then donated to Sweet Repeat Dresses.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Principals for a Day"

During the week of November 14 – 18, nearly 100 schools across Fulton County hosted business and community leaders to participate in “Principal for a Day.” The program is held during American Education Week, and aims to educate leaders on what it takes to successfully manage a school, while establishing relationships with the community.

This year the Junior League of Gwinnett & North Fulton Counties had Ashley Shoemaker, President; Molly Stone, VP Community; and Penny Sibley, Secretary act as “Principals for a Day.”  

Molly Stone, VP Community; “Principal for a Day” at Elkins Pointe Middle School in Roswell
Molly shadowed Kindra Smith, who has been the principal at Elkins Pointe Middle School for the last two years. Throughout the day, Molly visited several different classes, where it was apparent that Ms. Smith’s dedication and leadership style has helped shape the school.

A highlight from her time as principal was the opportunity to serve as a judge for a seventh grade Japanese class’ Iron Chef Competition. The students cooked traditional Japanese foods and then presented them to the class before Molly and Johnson sensei, the Japanese teacher, tried each dish and chose a winner.

Penny Sibley, Secretary; “Principal for a Day” at Crabapple Crossing Elementary School in Milton
Penny shadowed Dr. Rachel Williams and Ayo Richardson, who are the principal and assistant principal of Crabapple Crossing Elementary School.

Penny was fortunate enough to be principal during Crabapple’s Thanksgiving celebrations. She watched kindergarteners perform for their parents and attended fifth grade “Pioneer Day,” where she saw students learn how to make homemade butter, play with marbles and learn more about steam energy.

Ashley Shoemaker, President; “Principal for a Day” at Crabapple Middle School in Roswell
Ashley shadowed Dr. Rako Morrissey who is in her third year of administration at Crabapple Middle School.

During her time at Crabapple, Ashley spoke with the graduation coach who has created a small after-school program dedicated to promoting girls’ self-esteem. The group consists of girls who have been recommended by teachers or other staff members and promotes positive life choices and empowerment. The graduation coach uses her own time and resources available to take the group on outings, like hiking, and graduates of the program are brought in as mentors to current students.

Fulton’s “Principal for a Day” program is a partnership between the Fulton County School System, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce, South Fulton Chamber of Commerce and Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce. Click here to watch a video about “Principal for a Day” and learn more about the program.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Congratulations to our Member Spotlight, Brooke Patrick!

Brooke Patrick was nominated and selected by the current JLGNF Board of Directors as our fourth spotlight in our Member Spotlight Series based on her dedication and enthusiasm.  Brooke's awesome personality and drive shines through her placement, Recruitment Chair. 

"I enjoyed having Brooke on the Membership Council this year as a friend and a great team member! She worked hard all year to ensure the growth of our league.  Her hard work paid off, resulting in two FANTASTIC new member classes!" - Alex Klein, 2015-2016 V.P. of Membership 

About Brooke:

Current League Placement: Recruitment Chair
Past League Placements (if applicable): New Member Advisor
Other volunteer organization involvement: North Point Church in the Baby Room
How long have you lived in the Gwinnett/ North Fulton Area: 3 years
Which city do you live in? Alpharetta, but Buckhead next month
How long have you been in a member of JLGNF: 3 years
What is your profession, title, company (if applicable)? Speech Language Pathologist with Pediatric Speech Therapy. Business Owner/Speech Language Pathologist of Play and Say Speech Therapy
Tell us about your family: My parents and my brother and his family live in Illinois, which is where I am from. I am a proud Aunt of my brother's two children, Sophia and Cooper.
Why did you join JLGNF? I joined to surround myself with positive influences and friendship. My ex-husband and I moved here and while he had lived here before and had many friends, I had never stepped foot into Georgia. I admire women who know what they want and go for it, and the members of JLGNF represent that well.
What is your greatest life accomplishment (personally or professionally)? My profession. Although I take it for granted, there is no greater feeling than walking into a room and giving a family the support and skill set that they need. I love that the root of my job is to help with communication and redefining what communication means to some people.  
What is your favorite activity or hobby? Does the Avalon count? Besides shopping and people watching, I kayak weekly.
What about “Strong Girls, Bright Futures” resonates with you? I haven't had very much hands on involvement with this yet, which is why I am so excited about my upcoming placement (IMPACT Chair). I love that we want to impact the lives of young girls. I was lucky enough to grow up under the wings of my mother, who constantly encouraged me to be independent, strong and educated. I hope that with Strong Girls, Bright Futures, we can give them a glimpse of what they can accomplish if they put their minds to it.
What’s your favorite part of JLGNF? I love membership! It is so great to meet every New Member and watch them grow as new members to a vital part of the league. It's exciting to see their desire to help and become involved grow and watch their leadership skills develop.
Tell us something unique about you: My middle name Rheann is from Fleetwood Mac's song Rhiannon. I could survive solely off of Champagne and Mexican food and be perfectly happy! :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Congratulations to our Sustainer Spotlight, Lisa Winton

We're so grateful to have the consistent support and dedication from a core group of longstanding JLGNF women known as "Sustainers". The Sustainer Spotlight is the third spotlight in our Member Spotlight Series. 

Lisa Winton was nominated and selected as JLGNF's Sustainer Spotlight based on her volunteerism, dedication to JLGNF, and the knowledge and guidance she brings to our Members. Lisa has been an invaluable member of JLGNF for over 11 years! 

About Lisa:

Current League Placement: Sustainer

Past League Placements:  President, President-Elect, VP of Community, Mentor – Foster Care Program, Corporate Sponsorship Chair, Fund In A Day Chair (Murder Mystery Wine Tasting Fundraiser), American Girl Committee, Fund In a Day Committee (Golf Tournament)

Other volunteer organization involvement?  Chair of Suwanee Public Arts Commission, Member of the Fund Development Committee for the Gwinnett Shelter (Partnership Against Domestic Violence), Leadership Gwinnett Community Reflections Committee member, Board member for the Collins Hill Education Foundation, Board of Advisors for STEM program at Collins Hill High School, VP of Collins Hill Swim & Dive Booster Club, member of Suwanee Harvest Farm, and volunteer for Congregation Dor Tamid Social Action committee.  Member of the City of Suwanee Public Arts Master Plan committee.  Past chair for Leadership Gwinnett Outreach and Inclusion Committee, Past chair and member of the Leadership Gwinnett Economics Day Committee, Past Board member for the Turkish American Friendship Council, Past PTA High School treasurer.

Currently resides in: Lawrenceville. Has lived in Gwinnett/N. Fulton for 26 years

Have you received any awards or accolades? JLGNF Cynthia Tanner award, 2015 Inductee in the Partnership Against Domestic Legacy Society, Winner of the 2015 Gwinnett Movers and Shakers Award for small manufacturer, Leadership Gwinnett graduate

Current Profession: Co-founder and owner of Winton Machine Company (Manufacturing)

Tell us about your family:  My husband George and I have been happily married for 25 years this June and we have worked together for 17 years.  We have a graduating Senior, Amanda, who will be attending UGA this fall and studying neuroscience.  She grew up in the League volunteering and it’s stuck with her and built a great foundation of leadership and volunteerism.  Our son Andrew is 16 and is a High School Sophomore.  He’s an all- year competitive swimmer and will be earning his Eagle Rank in Boy Scouts later this year.

Why did you join JLGNF?  I joined Junior League because I met a League member in my daughter’s gymnastics class who I really liked and I used to hear her on the phone talking about Star Ball.  She was chairing the fundraiser that year and after many conversations and attending Star Ball as a guest I decided that JLGNF was an organization that I’d enjoy getting involved with.

What is your greatest life accomplishment?  I never take for granted my husband and 2 wonderful children.  I am so thankful for all that they have accomplished and continue to accomplish.  The opportunity to create jobs and keep people employed is by far the most significant thing I can ever do professionally.  I’ve learned and am continuing to learn that life isn’t about one big accomplishment but rather the smaller things that we are able to on a constant basis that make the biggest difference.

What is your favorite activity or hobby?  I love spending time with family and friends.  I don’t really have any favorite hobby or activity.  I love being active but that might mean tennis, jogging, boot camp, kickboxing, yoga, or simply taking a walk or hike on a beautiful trail.  I love a challenge and I like diversity.  Traveling to new places and taking food tours is definitely high on my list as is relaxing at home and cooking a nice dinner.  I thrive on learning new things and continuing to grow as a woman, mother, wife, and entrepreneur.

What about “Strong Girls, Bright Futures” resonates with you?  My involvement with Partnership Against Domestic Violence has taught me how critical it is to foster self-esteem, strength, independence, and education in our young girls so that they can have the tools to be successful and love themselves for who they are.  Everyone will experience hardships but it’s how you deal with them that paves your own personal journey.

What’s your favorite part of JLGNF? The opportunity to meet and socialize with like-minded women and all of the great educational opportunities afforded to you.